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“70 places ready for refugees, but no hubs”

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VENICE – «We have 70 places to welcome refugees, but landings must also be taken into account. There is a risk of competition between Ukrainians and migrants from the Balkan route ”. The prefect of Venice, Vittorio Zappalorto, is preparing the field for the new emergency. Yet another, to tell the truth, since he took up his post in Venice: first the migrants, then Covid, now the war refugees.


At the moment the numbers (those available, actually) are still quite limited: about 450 Ukrainians have arrived in the metropolitan area of ​​Venice in recent days. «But above all – he explains – they are people who had family members here to join. In our structures there are only 27, 170 have been taken over by Caritas ».

In Venice, Caritas has found room for about forty people, on the other hand the Municipality has placed about a hundred in the AO hostel in via Ca ‘Marcello. “We can say that we are one of the few municipalities to have made a real and concrete contribution right from the start”, comments the councilor for social policies Simone Venturini. The emergency, however, is still upon us.
«We are working on a mechanism for linking information – explains Zappalorto – we are trying to set up the machine, albeit with great difficulty, because at least so far this phenomenon has gotten out of hand. It is spontaneous, uncontrollable, so we are trying to get the situation back in hand ». Meanwhile, with a census, also coordinated with the other prefectures of the Veneto, with the aim of clarifying the dimensions of the migratory wave. The times when there was talk of hundreds of places available to the prefectures seem distant. Four or five years ago, in the former military base of Cona alone, the refugees had reached more than 1,500 people.

“At the moment, if this is the phenomenon, we are limitedly interested – continues Zappalorto – it is clear that if the flows were to become more consistent we will have to think of more capacious reception facilities, but situations like that of Cona should not and cannot be repeated. . Also because there are no cooperatives or companies that want to manage realities of this type ».

The alternatives, therefore, are different. «I am thinking rather of hotels, communities – he continues – it is certain that our 70 seats risk being insufficient, especially if landings continue. In Lampedusa, on the Sicilian and Calabrian coasts, in reality, they never stopped, even if now there is less talk: the risk of having to deal with this double channel of arrivals is there “.
Meanwhile, the collaboration between the prefectures and the regional civil protection continues: hubs will be created for the very first reception where Ukrainian refugees will be able to resolve all health (such as anti-covid vaccines, for example) and bureaucratic issues. A few days of stay before being assigned to the dedicated reception centers. “In Venice it is not yet certain whether there will be one of these structures – concludes Zappalorto – but it is probable that one will be built between here and Treviso”.